Your Financial Spring Cleaning Quiz

amber-dakar

Over the course of just one year, it can be surprising to see how many items we can accumulate; items that exist in almost every nook and cranny in our own homes.

That’s why spring is an excellent time of the year to go through all of our belongings, and decide what we should keep and what should be donated or discarded.yard sale

In my very own neighborhood, this past weekend, the community held its annual yard sale. The amount of items that were put out for sale was astounding to me. It’s not very difficult to purchase more items or receive so many household items throughout the years, so at some point we have to let go.

And nowadays, you don’t have to rely on simply dropping off to a donation center, or dump, or even having those all-day garage sales.

In fact, if you have a smart phone or access to the internet, getting rid of unwanted things is easy. As the old adage says, someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure.

Here are some of the best free apps, to help you clean the clutter and even make some money.

Offer Up – one of my favorites. https://offerupnow.com/

This app and site allows you to browse local items by image with thousands of new postings every day, and communicate with sellers entirely through their in-app messaging. Simply take a photo, post the description and price, and get ready to take the best offer.

LetGo – another free app and website where you can sell (and buy) pre-owned stuff. https://us.letgo.com/en. It is very similar to Offer Up, but better organized by categories.

shredderNow, for some of us, having a garage sale is an overwhelming amount of work, and in some communities, it is prohibited. So, another route you can take is donating the items to charity.

Although there are several national and local agencies that will gladly take your donations, it’s always best to call first to make sure they are accepting donations and in what form. And, don’t forget, donations are tax deductible, so you‘ll want to make sure to keep your receipts for tax purposes.

Recently, I came across a great app that will let you track and value your non-cash charitable donations; it’s called http://www.idonatedit.com/ and its mission is to help you get the most value possible from your charitable donation.

So now that you have some ideas for clutter and items in your home, the next thing you need to think about is your financial records. Many of us overlook the need to sort, keep or discard our financial records, yet is it very important to do every year.

At times, it can be extremely overwhelming how many documents and papers we accumulate over the course of the years.clutter

Even if you own a shredder it could be overwhelming as so many financial documents are mailed to us daily. Most of us tend to keep these a lot longer than we should.

These financial records include receipts from an ATM or the gas station, daily transactions, credit card statements, mortgage statements; even documents to a vehicle we no longer own.

The biggest challenge we have is whether we should shred an item or if we need to keep it, and for how long. To make sure you are doing your Financial Spring Cleaning correctly, I’ve included a quiz below to help you test your financial record storage acumen.

So take the test and see if you are on the right track!

Financial Documents:  How long Should you keep them?

1. How many years should tax returns be stored?

a. 3 years

b. 7 years

c. 20 years

d. Permanently

2. How many years should tax return documentation be stored?

a. 3 years

b. 7 years

c. 20 years

d. Permanently

3. How many years should bank statements be stored not related to taxes?

a. 1 year

b. 7 years

c. 10 years

d. Permanently

4. How many years should IRA contribution records be stored?

a. 5 year

b. 10 years

c. 20 years

d. Permanently

5. How many years should brokerage statements be stored?

a. 1 year

b. 7 years

c. Until the security is sold

d. Permanently

6. How many years should credit card statements be stored for tax-related purposes?

a. 3 years

b. 7 years

c. 20 years

d. Permanently

7. How many years should receipts for large/valuable purchases be stored- like antiques, jewelry and collectibles?

a. 3 years

b. 7 years

c. 20 years

d. Permanently

The answer key for the above quiz questions are below.

So, how did you do?

As you can see from the quiz, some financial documents will be with us for the rest of our life.  Make sure you have a fireproof/waterproof security safe or a safe deposit box at your bank so you can store those documents in case of an emergency.

Until next time,

Amber

Answer key: answer key

 

Ms. Dakar is the author of The Busy Person’s Guide to Personal Finance, a primer to help consumers manage their finances so they can build a substantial nest-egg. She also conducts personal finance seminars where she provides concepts to attain overall financial health.